Animal Kingdom Touring: Afternoon Arrival

Today we return to Disney’s Animal Kingdom to take a look at what we can accomplish with a mid-afternoon arrival at the park. We parked the car right around 2:15 and were inside the main entrance by 2:30. The park was open until 10:00 on this particular day, as it will be for the majority of the summer.

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As we stated in our 11 Underrated Attractions at WDW post, I suggest taking your time as you make the walk up through The Oasis. Take the various paths back and forth and see as much as you can. Not only are there some cool animals in here, but the whole area is just so lush and gorgeous.

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I had about an hour and a half before my first fastpass, so I decided to just walk around the park for a bit and snap some photos. It was an on and off rainy day so unfortunately the clouds are a bit on the blah side.

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You’re bound to come across all sorts of neat birds just walking throughout the park.

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In addition to that, the park is just absolutely filled with all sorts of amazing detail. We never agreed when folks used to call Animal Kingdom a half day park, as we could spend half a day just wandering around and taking in all the thematic touches.

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We’ve stated before that we feel Animal Kingdom is the best cohesively themed park in the US and we are sticking to that! (Dino-rama aside)

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We’ve been to the park countless times, yet we still notice new things every time we go.

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The park is also full of some fantastic places to just chill out. Many of these areas are off the beaten path so to speak, resulting in a refreshing lack of crowds and noise. The average guest won’t even realize that half these areas exist.

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I love this little covered seating area way down by the water’s edge. This is technically a seating area for Flame Tree BBQ, but most folks don’t travel this far back from the counter service restaurant. It’s usually pretty empty down here. I can’t imagine a better view for enjoying a meal, or even just grabbing a drink and taking a breather from the crowds.

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A good part of the Discovery Island Trails remain closed as part of a lengthy refurbishment, however the great news is that the otter exhibit did recently re-open.

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I don’t know what it is, but I could watch these little guys play all day!

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The only negative I can say about the otters is that they are so cute that people don’t want to stop watching them. This can make it kind of hard to get a decent viewing spot during busier times.

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This little monkey dude (we always use technical terms here remember) also had quite a crowd gathered around him. He didn’t really do anything but sit up on his little perch here, but that was enough i suppose.

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You gotta love his Einstein-esque hairdo.

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Let’s head over to Harambe. This is perhaps my favorite area of the park. We previously looked at some of my favorite details within the area in this post here.

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In addition to the incredible attention to detail, there is always some sort of fun street performance going on.

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Shortly after I snapped this photo, the skies opened up. Luckily, we’re ready to use our first fasspass.

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Let’s take a rainy ride on Kilimanjaro Safaris.

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We were seated in the front row which gives an interesting perspective. Our view was pretty close to that of the driver.

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Between the Okapi above and this Black Rhino below our first few minutes of the tour was filled with a lot of animal backsides.

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Let’s head further into the Forest and hope for a bit better luck.

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There were ZERO hippos out at this time, however I was able to get a few cool shots of the Pelican’s that share this area with the hippos.

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As we pass under the rope bridge for Wild Africa Trek, we remind you to check out our full review of that amazing experience here!

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Who needs an official on ride photo anyways?

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The savanna is typically our favorite area of the safari. It was looking a little blah with the weather this day, but the animals were super active, perhaps due to the rain cooling things down a bit.

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This area varies between wild African dogs and the hyena seen here above and below.

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Baby Jabari (seen below) was born in January right in the middle of the safari route. She has already gotten pretty big (granted giraffes area pretty big to begin with as soon as they are born).

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As we head further along our route, the elephant areas are unfortunately mostly covered up.

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Instead, all we got in this area is Flamingos.

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Luckily, the end of our tour is going to make up for this. We are about to get some great views of some of the headliners of the safari.

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First up, we have this massive white rhino just strolling along the street!

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This guy is just huge!

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We made our way into big cat country where cheetah was pacing back and forth, no doubt contemplating how he can find a way to eat all of us.

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We had to stop for a couple minutes as this ostrich was just standing in the middle of the road and refused to leave. This was actually a good thing as atop the rocks behind him was this majestic male lion!

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When we finally got moving again, we rounded the corner to see these 2 females napping on the rocks below.

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It’s absolutely incredible to me how similar these big cats look to everyday house cats while they sleep. Even awake, the mannerisms are crazy similar.

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We get another great view of the male here as we head around the other side of the rocks.

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After the lions, there isn’t too much to see before returning back to the drop off area. This warthog was our last animal sighting of the “trip”.

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And back to the station we go. Kwaharini everyone!

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When exiting the safari, don’t forget to bare right as you exit the unload area to take a stroll along the Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail.

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This is the only place in the park you can see several neat animals, including the Gorillas and the recently born baby Grace!

We are going to leave things off there for now. We will be back with part 2 where we visit Pandora for dinner and a fastpass, as well as touring Asia and Dinoland! For now, Asante Sana!

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